Midget (from midge , a sand fly) is a term for a person of unusually short stature that is considered by some to be pejorative. While not a medical term, it has been applied to persons of unusually short stature, often with dwarfism, a medical condition with a number of causes including achondroplasia, and particularly proportionate dwarfism. The word has a history of association with the performance arts as little people were often employed by acts in the circus, vaudeville, etc.
The term midget may also refer to anything of much smaller than normal size, as a synonym for "miniature" or "mini",such as midget cell, midget crabapple, midget flowerpecker, midget submarine, MG's Midget, Daihatsu's Midget, and the Midget Mustang airplane; or to anything that regularly uses anything that is smaller than normal (other than a person), such as midget car racing and quarter midget racing.
Midget may also reference a smaller version of play or participation, such as midget golf; or to anything designed for very young (i.e., small) participants—in many cases children—such as Disneyland's Midget Autopia, Midget hockey, and Midget football.Some sports organizations, like Hockey Canada, have committed to removing uses of the word midget, recognizing the changing nature of political correctness.
Merriam-Webster's dictionary states that the first use of the term "midget" was in 1816.
Midgets have always been popular entertainers, but were often regarded with disgust and revulsion in society. In the early 19th century, however, midgets were romanticized by the middle class and regarded with the same affectionate condescension extended to children, as creatures of innocence.The term "midget" came into prominence in the mid-19th century after Harriet Beecher Stowe used it in her novels Sunny Memories of Foreign Lands and Old Town Folks where she described children and an extremely short man, respectively. P. T. Barnum indirectly helped popularize the term "midget" when he began featuring General Tom Thumb, Lavinia Warren and Commodore Nutt in his circus. "Midget" became linked to referencing short people put on public display for curiosity and sport. Barnum's midgets, however, were elevated to a position of high society, given fantasy military titles, introduced to dignitaries and royalty, and showered with gifts.
Such performances continued to be widespread through the mid part of the twentieth century, with Hermines Midgets brought from their performances in Paris to appear at the 1939 New York World's Fair,the same year that MGM released The Wizard of Oz , which featured 124 midgets in its cast, most of whom were from the Singer's Midgets troupe.
When interviewed for a 1999 piece, performers engaged in ongoing "Midget Wrestling" events stated that they did not view the term "Midget Wrestling" as derogatory, but merely descriptive of their small size; however, others responding to the piece disagreed, with one stating that the performances themselves perpetuated an outdated and demeaning image.
Towards the end of the twentieth century, the word became considered by some as a pejorative term when referencing people with dwarfism.However some, such as accomplished actor Hervé Villechaize, have continued to self-identify as "midgets".
There have been movements to remove use of the word "midget" from age classification categories in youth sports, with Hockey Canada announcing that it would refer to the division as "U18" in 2020, as part of a wider renaming scheme.
1. An extremely small person who is otherwise normally proportioned.
An idiot, in modern use, is a stupid or foolish person.
Pussy is used as a noun, an adjective, and—in rare instances—a verb in the English language. It has several meanings, as slang, as euphemism, and as vulgarity. Most common as a noun, it means "cat", as well as "coward or weakling", and also "the human vulva or vagina". Because of its multiple senses including both innocent and vulgar connotations, pussy is often the subject of double entendre. It is less commonly used as a verb, a form of synecdoche, meaning "sexual intercourse with a woman".
Dwarfism occurs when an organism is extremely small. In humans, it is sometimes defined as an adult height of less than 147 centimetres, regardless of sex; the average adult height among people with dwarfism is 122 centimetres, although some individuals with dwarfism are slightly taller. Disproportionate dwarfism is characterized by either short limbs or a short torso. In cases of proportionate dwarfism, both the limbs and torso are unusually small. Intelligence is usually normal, and most have a nearly normal life expectancy. People with dwarfism can usually bear children, although there are additional risks to mother and child, dependent upon the underlying condition.
A Munchkin is a native of the fictional Munchkin Country in the Oz books by American author L. Frank Baum. They first appear in the classic children's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) where they welcome Dorothy Gale to their city in Oz. The Munchkins are described as being the same height as Dorothy and they wear only shades of blue clothing, as blue is the Munchkins' favorite color. Blue is also the predominating color that officially represents the eastern quadrant in the Land of Oz. The Munchkins have appeared in various media, including the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, as well as in various other films and comedy acts.
The Doll Family was an American quartet of sibling entertainers with dwarfism from Stolpen, Germany. They were popular performers as in circuses and sideshows in the United States from the mid-1910s until their retirement in 1958. The Doll Family also appeared briefly in films; they were best known as members of The Munchkins in the 1939 MGM film The Wizard of Oz.
Charles Sherwood Stratton, better known by his stage name "General Tom Thumb", was an American dwarf, who achieved great fame as a performer under circus pioneer P. T. Barnum.
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Mercy Lavinia Warren Stratton was an American proportionate dwarf, who was a circus performer and the wife of General Tom Thumb. She was known for her appearance in one silent film, The Lilliputians Courtship (1915).
Midgetville refers to real or legendary communities of "midgets", people with forms of dwarfism who are normally proportioned, or collections of small "midget-sized" houses. Real or legendary, they are at times given fanciful qualities. Some "real" ones may play on mythology for tourism purposes. Hence some descriptions are not meant to imply anything concerning ordinary or real people with dwarfism.
The Tom Thumb House is a historic house in Middleborough, Massachusetts. The 21⁄2 story wood frame house was built in the 1870s as a summer home for the dwarf entertainer Charles Stratton, best known by his stage name, General Tom Thumb. It has Second Empire architecture, including a mansard roof, paired brackets in the cornice, and paired columns supporting the porch. The interior was built to meet the needs of the 3-foot-4-inch (102 cm) Stratton and his wife Lavinia, who was also a proportionate dwarf (midget,) however, few of its miniaturized features have survived.
Huldah Pierce Warren Bump, better known as Minnie Warren, was an American proportionate dwarf and an entertainer associated with P. T. Barnum. Her sister Lavinia Warren was married to General Tom Thumb. They were very well known in 1860s America and their meeting with Abraham Lincoln was covered in the press.
George Washington Morrison Nutt, better known by his stage name Commodore Nutt, was an American dwarf and an entertainer associated with P. T. Barnum. In 1861, Nutt was touring New England with a circus when Barnum hired him to appear at the American Museum in New York City. Barnum gave Nutt the stage name Commodore Nutt, a wardrobe that included naval uniforms, and a miniature carriage in the shape of an English walnut. Nutt became one of the Museum's major attractions.
A freak show is an exhibition of biological rarities, referred to in popular culture as "freaks of nature". Typical features would be physically unusual humans, such as those uncommonly large or small, those with intersex variations, those with extraordinary diseases and conditions, and others with performances expected to be shocking to viewers. Heavily tattooed or pierced people have sometimes been seen in freak shows, as have attention-getting physical performers such as fire-eating and sword-swallowing acts.
Some of the first dwarfs to have their histories recorded were employed as court dwarfs. They were owned and traded amongst people of the court, and delivered as gifts to fellow kings and queens.
Admiral Dot, born Leopold S. Kahn, was a dwarf performer for P. T. Barnum.
Patrick Walshe was an American dwarf character actor and circus performer who specialized in impersonating and portraying animals. He is best known for playing Nikko, the head of the Winged Monkeys in the MGM film The Wizard of Oz (1939). He appeared in only a few films, as most of his work was in theater, vaudeville and circus. Throughout his vaudeville career, he was a frequent collaborator of Lew Fields and Joe Cook.
Edmund Newell, better known as General Grant Jr. or Major Edward Newell, was a 19th-century dwarf who gained fame as an associate of P. T. Barnum. He was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Edmund S. Newell and Sarah Ellen Jimmerson.
Clarence Chesterfield Howerton, also known as Major Mite, was an American circus performer who starred in the sideshow for over 25 years, 20 of which were with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. He was 2 ft 4 in (0.71 m) tall and performed with several groups from the early 1920s through the late 1940s, billed as the smallest man in the world. His small physique was often contrasted alongside larger circus sideshow acts, such as the juvenile obese and the excessively tall.